Did you know that median household income in the United States is lower today than it was when the last recession supposedly ended? If we are in the middle of an “economic recovery”, how can this possibly be happening? Stunning new statistics compiled by Sentier Research show that the U.S. economy is not nearly as healthy as we have been led to believe. According to the study that Sentier Research has just released, median household income in the United States was sitting at $55,470 back in January 2000. In December 2007, when the recession began, it was sitting at $54,916. In June 2009, when the recession supposedly ended, it was sitting at $53,508. Today, it is sitting at $50,964. This is a long-term trend that is definitely going in the wrong direction. The fact that median household income in the U.S. is now 4.8 percent lower than it was when the last recession ended is incredibly disturbing, especially since all of the things that we buy on a regular basis just keep going up in price. Food, gas, electricity, car insurance and health insurance all cost a whole lot more today than they did back in the year 2000, and yet median household income has dropped 8.1 percent since that time. So what does all of this mean? It means that American families ARE getting poorer.
Yes, the stock market has been soaring, corporate profits have set all-time records in recent years and the big Wall Street banks that were showered with bailout money are absolutely thriving.
But there has been no economic recovery on “Main Street”.
According to the Sentier Research report mentioned above, incomes have been declining in all geographic regions of the country and in all sectors of the economy….
-Median household income for the self-employed has fallen 9.4 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for private sector employees has fallen 4.5 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for government workers has fallen 3.5 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for Americans living in the West has fallen 8.5 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for Americans living in the Northeast has fallen 4.9 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for Americans living in the South has also fallen 4.9 percent since June 2009.
-Median household income for Americans living in the Midwest has fallen 1.1 percent since June 2009.
Remember, the recession supposedly ended in June 2009.
Since that time we have supposedly been in a “recovery”.
So if it has seemed to you that American families have been getting poorer it has not just been your imagination.
In a previous article, I detailed 84 statistics that prove that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed. If you have not read it yet, I encourage you to go check it out. At this point it is absolutely undeniable that the middle class in America is declining. The following are just a couple of the numbers from my recent article….
1. According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.
2. The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.
3. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
4. The average net worth of a middle class family in America was $129,582 in 2001. By 2010 that figure had dropped to $93,150.
5. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of all families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
You can find 79 more statistics just like this right here.
At the same time that our incomes are going down, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.
Thanks Ben Bernanke.
American families are being increasingly stretched financially, and if major changes are not made this is going to get even worse in the years ahead.
Another thing that we aren’t being told on the nightly news is that the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is lower today than when the last recession ended.
So let’s summarize….
-A smaller percentage of Americans have jobs today compared to June 2009.
-Median household income has declined by 4.8 percent since June 2009.
-American families are far less wealthy than they were just a few years ago.
Are we sure that we are in an economic recovery?
Just look at what is happening to our cities.
The rest of the world once looked at Detroit in awe.
Now it is a global joke.
You can see some incredible photographs of the devastation in Detroit right here.
This kind of thing is happening on the east coast as well. I have written many times about how horrible life has become in places such as Camden, New Jersey.
Well, now the entire Camden police force is being disbanded, and the policing of the city is going to be turned over to the county.
We are a mess, and it is time to admit that.
Sadly, most Americans simply have no idea how close our economic system really is to total system failure.
Only 24.6 percent of the jobs in this country are “good jobs” at this point, the velocity of money in our economy has plunged to a post-World War II low, unemployment is rampant, more than half of all Americans are at least partially financially dependent on the government and our national debt is crossing the 16 trillion dollar mark.
We don’t need someone to come in and “tweak” the economy.
We need radical reconstructive surgery.
But most Americans do not understand this.
Most Americans do not seem to grasp these things until economic hardship touches them personally.
After all, if you still have a good job and the mainstream media is telling you that everything is going to be okay it is really easy to pretend that we aren’t heading for an economic disaster of unimaginable proportions.
A massive problem that we are facing right now is something known as “normalcy bias”. This is how Wikipedia defines “normalcy bias”….
The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.
Doesn’t that sound exactly like the vast majority of Americans right now?
Most Americans just assume that since we have always recovered from every other economic downturn in the past that we will always be able to easily handle whatever the future throws at us.
If only that was true.
We are heading into a time that will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before, and many people that have blind faith in the system are going to be absolutely devastated when this coming crisis blindsides them.
Our economy has been collapsing, it is continuing to collapse, and the collapse is going to accelerate dramatically in the coming years.
You can have blind faith in the system, or you can get prepared for what is coming.
The choice is up to you.
The U.S. health care system has become one gigantic money making scam, and you are about to see the statistics that prove it. Today, the United States spends more on health care per person than any other country in the world by far. The health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical corporations are raking in gigantic mountains of cash and yet the quality of the health care that we receive in return is rather quite poor. People living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than we do. Residents of Cuba have a lower infant mortality rate than we do. We are the most medicated population on the planet and yet we are also one of the sickest. If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the 6th largest economy on the globe and yet rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes continue to increase. The U.S. health care statistics that you are about to read below are absolutely stunning. For as much money as we shell out for health care, we should have the greatest system in the entire world. But we don’t. Something has gone horribly wrong.
As you read this, there are hordes of health bureaucrats and greedy corporate fatcats that are becoming incredibly wealthy while the rest of us go broke trying to pay for our health care. In the United States today, health care bills cause more bankruptcies than anything else does. Millions of Americans are afraid to go to the hospital because they know that even a short visit would be a huge financial burden.
Sadly, our politicians in Washington D.C. continue to make the problem worse. Obamacare was one of the worst pieces of legislation that anyone has ever come up with in the history of the United States. You could put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and they wouldn’t come up with anything as bad as Obamacare. Rather than doing something to address the abuses of the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical corporations, Obamacare actually gives them more power. In fact, huge portions of Obamacare are virtually identical to a bill that was written by the health insurance trade association in 2009. Under Obamacare our health care costs will go up even faster and the quality of our health care will continue to go down. So please don’t try to tell me that Obamacare is the solution to anything.
The health care system in the United States is so broken that it probably cannot be repaired. The entire thing needs to be dismantled and completely reinvented.
If you doubt this, just check out the stats that I have compiled below.
As I put together this list of statistics, Business Insider proved to be a very valuable resource. In addition, I relied heavily on the following articles which I previously authored….
*25 Shocking Facts That Prove That The Entire U.S. Health Care Industry Has Become One Giant Money Making Scam
*18 Ridiculous Statistics About Medical Bills, Medical Debt And The Health Care Industry That Will Make You So Mad You Will Want To Tear Your Hair Out
*The Coming Doctor Shortage
The following are 50 U.S. health care statistics that will absolutely astonish you….
#1 What the United States spent on health care in 2009 was greater than the entire GDP of Great Britain.
#2 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
#3 The United States spent 2.47 trillion dollars on health care in 2009. It is being projected that the U.S. will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.
#4 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
#5 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
#6 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.
#7 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation. The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the whole year.
#8 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to receive nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.
#9 Even as the rest of the country struggled with a deep recession, U.S. health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent during 2009 alone.
#10 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.
#11 In the United States, health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs. In Finland, that figure is just 2 percent.
#12 Health insurance rate increases are getting out of control. According to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California announced plans earlier this year to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders were slated to see their health insurance premiums rise by up to 59 percent.
#13 According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers in the U.S. increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.
#14 Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.
#15 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits each during 2008.
#16 Each year, tens of billions of dollars is spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the United States alone.
#17 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.
#18 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was recently released. According to the report, approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more drugs on a regular basis.
#19 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.
#20 The Food and Drug Administration reported 1,742 prescription drug recalls in 2009, which was a gigantic increase from 426 drug recalls in 2008.
#21 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.
#22 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.
#23 Lawyers are certainly doing their part to contribute to soaring health care costs. According to one recent study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.
#24 According to one doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.
#25 Why are c-sections on the rise? It is because a vaginal delivery costs approximately $5,992, while a c-section costs approximately $8,558.
#26 According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States had a higher infant mortality rate than 45 other nations in 2009.
#27 The infant mortality rate in the United States is nearly three times as high as it is in Singapore.
#28 It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.
#29 In fact, one trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of all the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.
#30 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.
#31 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.
#32 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.
#33 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.
#34 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.
#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#36 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.
#37 It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in 2012.
#38 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.
#39 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.
#40 According to one survey, approximately 1 out of every 4 Californians under the age of 65 has absolutely no health insurance.
#41 According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “inefficient claims processing” costs the U.S. health care system 210 billion dollars every single year.
#42 Today, approximately 40% of all U.S. doctors are age 55 or older.
#43 According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we were already going to be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years even before Obamacare was passed.
#44 An IBD/TIPP poll taken back in August 2009 found that 4 out of every 9 American doctors said that they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passed Obamacare.
#45 According to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all practicing physicians in the United States indicated that they may leave the medical profession because of the new health care law.
#46 According to a Merritt Hawkins survey of 2,379 doctors that was conducted in August 2010, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to “retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care” at some point over the next three years.
#47 According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, Obamacare has already forced the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to open soon.
#48 According to a report released in 2010, Americans spend approximately twice as much as residents of other developed countries do on health care.
#49 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy in the entire world.
#50 According to numbers released by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.
Please pray for those living along the Mississippi River. They are going to need it. The tornadoes that just ripped through the southeast U.S. are being called one of the worst natural disasters in American history, and now the flooding along the Mississippi River may top the damage done by those tornadoes. In fact, some are now projecting that this will be the worst Mississippi River flood ever recorded since the United States became a nation. You don’t believe that? Well, Bob Anderson, an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman based in Vicksburg, Mississippi says that there has “never been a flood of this magnitude on the upper Mississippi“. And you know what they say – “never” is a really, really long time. Hopefully everyone in the region has really good flood insurance. The flood that this is being compared to is the great 1937 Mississippi River flood. That flood was so nightmarish that it changed the whole way that the U.S. government approaches floods, but now this flood is surpassing the record levels set back in 1937 in many areas. This truly is a historic flood.
This is not a disaster that happens over one or two days and then is over. This disaster is going to literally take weeks to unfold. Residents of 8 states are bracing for the worst.
Many are rapidly filling sandbags and are trying to keep the flood waters at bay. Others are packing up and getting ready to evacuate.
The flood is so massive that it actually has caused some of the tributaries along the Mississippi River to actually start flowing backwards.
So how long is this flooding going to last?
At this point, the Mississippi River is expected to crest at 48 feet around May 11th.
But this disaster will last much longer than that.
Authorities are saying that the Mississippi River could stay at flood stage for more than a month.
The economic damage, the property damage and the loss of crops is going to be incalculable.
It is important to understand that this is just not another flood. This is literally a history changing nightmare.
Just check out this quote from Gene Rench of the National Weather Service….
“Right now the Mississippi river is in the process of going through what we call an epic flood, meaning it’s more than historic, it’s more than a 100 year flood, it’s more like a 500 year flood.”
A “500 year flood”?
That is some pretty strong language.
Part of the problem is that the Ohio River and the Mississippi River are both flooding at the same time. In a recent article on CNN, local farmer Bob Byrne described the damage and noted that this is the first time he has ever seen both of those mighty rivers flood at the same time….
“We’ve seen the Ohio River rampage, water right up to the top of the levee. We’ve seen this one (Mississippi) on the rampage, but never the two together.”
Byrne also said that the loss of wheat crops that he has already suffered comes to about $40,000.
Sadly, this flooding is going to cost the region billions upon billions of dollars.
But didn’t we just see another disaster that is going to cost billions upon billions of dollars?
Yes we did.
The “tornadoes of 2011” absolutely destroyed big chunks of the southeast United States.
There was one mile-wide tornado with winds over 200 MPH that basically ripped Tuscaloosa, Alabama to shreds. There are parts of Tuscaloosa that look like they have been through a nuclear war.
What in the world is going on?
In just one 24 hour period last week, there were a whopping 226 active tornadoes in the United States.
Overall, there were approximately 600 tornadoes in the United States during April. That is the most tornadoes that have ever been recorded in a single month in all of American history.
Usually, there are only about 1,200 tornadoes in the U.S. during an entire year.
Meanwhile, the state of Texas is being ravaged by drought and wildfires. So far the wildfires down in Texas have scorched more than 2 million acres.
Why is all of this happening to us?
Could it be just a coincidence that so many “historic” natural disasters are happening all at once or is something else going on here?
Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below, and please remember to pray for the millions of Americans that are suffering through these disasters right now.
The economic collapse of Japan has begun. The extent of the devastation is now becoming clear and many are now projecting that this will be the most expensive natural disaster in modern human history. The tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th swept up to 6 miles inland, destroying virtually everything in the way. Countless thousands were killed and entire communities were totally wiped out. So how does a nation that is already drowning in debt replace dozens of cities and towns that have suddenly been destroyed? Many in the mainstream media are claiming that the economy of Japan will bounce right back from this, but they are wrong. The tsunami decimated thousands of square miles. The loss of homes, cars, businesses and personal wealth is almost unimaginable. It is going to take many years to rebuild the roads, bridges, rail systems, ports, power lines and water systems that were lost. There are going to be a significant number of Japanese insurance companies and financial institutions that are going to be totally wiped out as a result of this great tragedy. Of course in the days ahead the Japanese people will band together and work hard to rebuild the nation, but the truth is that it is impossible to “bounce right back” from such a massive loss of wealth, assets and infrastructure.
Just think about what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Did the economy of New Orleans bounce right back? No, there are some areas of New Orleans today that still look like war zones.
Well, this disaster is much worse.
The truth is that this is going to be one of the defining moments in the history of Japan. Hundreds of miles along the coast of Japan have been absolutely devastated. Authorities are finding it difficult to even get food and water into some areas at this point.
Even before this great tragedy Japan was one of the nations that was on the verge of a national economic collapse. Their economy had been in the doldrums for over a decade and their national debt was well over 200 percent of GDP. Now the Japanese economy has experienced a shock from which it may never truly recover.
The Bank of Japan is already flooding the Japanese economy with new yen, and so we may indeed see some impressive “economic growth” statistics at the end of the year. But just because lots more yen are being passed around does not mean that the Japanese economy is in better shape.
The truth is that a tsunami of yen is not going to undo the damage that the tsunami of water did. A massive amount of Japanese wealth was wiped out by this disaster. An economy that was already teetering on the brink is now very likely going to plunge into oblivion.
It is fine to be optimistic, but the cold, hard reality of the situation is that this is a knockout blow for the Japanese economy. The extent of the devastation is just too great. This truly is a complete and total nightmare.
The following are 14 reasons why the economic collapse of Japan has now begun….
#1 The Bank of Japan has announced that they have decided to flood the Japanese economy with 15 trillion yen. That is the equivalent of roughly $183 billion dollars. This is going to provide needed liquidity in the short-term, but it is also going to set Japan on a highly inflationary course.
#2 Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average declined by more than 6 percent on Monday. As the full extent of the damage becomes apparent more declines are likely.
#3 Oil refineries all over Japan have been severely damaged or destroyed. For example, six refineries that combine to process 31 percent of the oil for Japan have been totally shut down at least for now.
#4 The damage to roads, bridges, ports and rail systems is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. The damage done to power lines and water systems is almost unimaginable. It is going to take many years to rebuild the infrastructure of Japan.
#5 Right now the flow of goods and services in many areas of northern Japan has been reduced to a crawl, and this is likely to remain the case for quite some time.
#6 Many cities and towns along the east coast of Japan have essentially been completely destroyed.
#7 Japan’s nuclear industry is essentially dead in the water at this point. Even if there is not a full-blown nuclear meltdown, the events that have transpired already have frightened people enough to cause a massive public outcry against nuclear power in Japan.
#8 Japan is going to need even more oil and natural gas in the long run to replace lost nuclear energy production. Prior to this crisis, Japan derived 29 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.
#9 Japan is the second largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, but that is about to change. Japan currently has about $882 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds and they are going to have to liquidate much of that in order to fund the rebuilding of their nation.
#10 Many factories in Japan are closing down at least temporarily. For example, Nissan has shut down four factories and Sony has shut down six factories.
#11 Toyota has shut down all production at its factories in Japan until at least March 16th.
#12 A substantial number of Japanese financial institutions and insurance companies are absolutely going to be devastated by this nightmare.
#13 Japan’s budget deficit was already 9 percent of GDP even before this tragedy. Now they are going to have to borrow lots more money to fund the rebuilding effort.
#14 Japan’s national debt was already well over 200 percent of GDP even before this tragedy. How much farther into the danger zone can they possibly go?
Sadly, as the economy of Japan goes down it is going to have a huge affect on the rest of the world as well. For example, Japan is no longer going to be able to buy up huge amounts of U.S. Treasuries. So who is going to pick up the slack? Will our government officials beg China to lend us even more money? Will the Federal Reserve just “buy” even more of our government debt?
Right now there are more questions than there are answers, but what is clear is that the Japanese economy has just been dealt an incapacitating blow. Hopefully this tragedy will bring out the best in the Japanese people, but no matter how resilient they are, the truth is that this is something that no nation would be able to bounce back from quickly.
Let us hope that the economic damage from this tragedy will be contained and will not spread to the rest of the world. The global economy is already in enough trouble, and hopefully this tragedy will not cause a cascade of economic failures to sweep the globe.
Guess what? Unemployment is up again! That’s right – even though Wall Street is swimming in cash and the Obama administration is declaring that “the recession is over”, the U.S. unemployment rate has gone even higher. So are you enjoying the jobless recovery? The truth is that there should not be any talk of a “recovery” as long as the “official” unemployment rate remains at around 10 percent and the “real” unemployment continues to hover around 17 percent. There are millions and millions of American families that are living every day in deep pain because of the lack of jobs. Meanwhile, there are all of these economic pundits that are declaring that we are just going to have to realize that chronic unemployment is the “new normal” and that if other nations can handle high rates of unemployment then so can we. The most optimistic economists are projecting that we can perhaps get the unemployment rate down to around 8 percent by 2012. On the other hand, there are many economists that are convinced that things are going to get even worse.
If you have never been unemployed, it can be hard to describe how soul-crushing it can be. As the bills pile up and the financial obligations mount, the pressure can be debilitating. Being unemployed for an extended period of time can easily plunge you into depression and grind your self-worth away to almost nothing. After getting rejected dozens of times (or even hundreds of times), many Americans simply give up. There are countless marriages and countless families that are being ripped to shreds by financial pressure even as you read this. When the money is gone and there is no job in sight it can be a really, really empty feeling.
Of course there is a whole lot more to life than money, but it can be difficult to tell that to someone who can barely sleep at night because of the intense pressure to find a job.
The vast majority of Americans have at least one family member or close friend that is looking for work right now. Times are really, really tough and unfortunately the long-term outlook is very bleak. We should have compassion on those who are out of work right now, because soon many of us may join them.
The following are 25 unemployment statistics that are almost too depressing to read….
#1 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate for November was 9.8 percent. This was up from 9.6 percent in October, and it continues a trend of depressingly high unemployment rates. The official unemployment number has been at 9.5 percent or higher for well over a year at this point.
#2 In November 2006, the “official” U.S. unemployment rate was just 4.5 percent.
#3 Most economists had been expecting the U.S. economy to add about 150,000 jobs in November. Instead, it only added 39,000.
#4 In the United States today, there are over 15 million people who are “officially” considered to be unemployed for statistical purposes. But everyone knows that the “real” number is even much larger than that.
#5 As 2007 began, there were just over 1 million Americans that had been unemployed for half a year or longer. Today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.
#6 The number of “persons not in the labor force” in the United States recently set another new all-time record.
#7 It now takes the average unemployed American over 33 weeks to find a job.
#8 When you throw in “discouraged workers” and “underemployed workers”, the “real” unemployment rate in the state of California is actually about 22 percent.
#9 In America today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. In fact, there are now approximately 5 unemployed Americans for every single job opening.
#10 According to The New York Times, Americans that have been unemployed for five weeks or less are three times more likely to find a new job in the coming month than Americans that have been unemployed for over a year.
#11 The U.S. economy would need to create 235,120 new jobs a month to get the unemployment rate down to pre-recession levels by 2016. Does anyone think that there is even a prayer that is going to happen?
#12 There are 9 million Americans that are working part-time for “economic reasons”. In other words, those Americans would gladly take full-time jobs if they could get them, but all they have been able to find is part-time work.
#13 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.
#14 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.
#15 The United States has lost at least 7.5 million jobs since the recession began.
#16 Today, only about 40 percent of Ford Motor Company’s 178,000 workers are employed in North America, and a big percentage of those jobs are in Canada and Mexico.
#17 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.
#18 Earlier this year, one poll found that 28% of all American households had at least one member that was looking for a full-time job.
#19 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.
#20 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#21 As the employment situation continues to stagnate, millions of American families have decided to cut back on things such as insurance coverage. For example, the percentage of American households that have life insurance coverage is at its lowest level in 50 years.
#22 Unless Congress acts, and there is no indication that is going to happen, approximately 2 million Americans will stop receiving unemployment checks over the next couple of months.
#23 A poll that was released by the Pew Research Center back in June discovered that an astounding 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the economic downturn began.
#24 According to Richard McCormack, the United States has lost over 42,000 factories (and counting) since 2001.
#25 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
But this is what we get for creating the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. For decades we have been digging a deeper hole for ourselves by going into increasingly larger amounts of debt. In America today, our entire economy is based on debt. Even our money is debt. We were fools if we ever thought this could go on forever.
Just think about it. Have you ever gone out and run up a bunch of debt? It can be a lot of fun sitting behind the wheel of a new car, running your credit cards up to the limit and buying a beautiful big house that you cannot afford.
But in the end what happens?
It always catches up with you.
Well, our collective debt is starting to catch up with us. There is a sea of red ink on every level of American society. It is only a matter of time before it destroys our economy.
If you think that things are bad now, just wait. Things are going to get a whole lot worse. A horrific economic collapse is coming, and it is going to be very, very painful.
Over the past several decades, no matter which political party has been in power the government has continued to become a larger part of our lives. These days many people are speaking of the “nanny state” that we have created, but the reality is far worse than that. The truth is that the government has become a gluttonous, out of control behemoth that is gobbling up everything in sight and that is attempting to exert full spectrum dominance over our lives. Today, the government seems to have an insatiable hunger to watch us, track us and control us. Now they even want to feel our private parts before we get on an airplane. No matter what politicians we send to Washington D.C., it just seems to get worse and worse. Anyone who still believes that we live in “the land of the free” is completely and totally delusional.
It isn’t just in one particular area that all of this government intrusion into our lives is so offensive. What we are witnessing is the government slowly digging its fingers even deeper into our lives in a thousand different ways. Sadly, most Americans see the government as the one who is supposed to take care of them from the cradle to the grave, as the one who is supposed to fix all of the problems in society and as the one who is their ultimate authority.
This is in direct contradiction to the concept of a “limited government” that our Founding Fathers tried so desperately to enshrine in our founding documents. The American people need a big-time wake up call. The following are 8 examples of how the U.S. government is attempting to take even more control over our lives….
#1 Taking Total Control Of Our Food – S. 510 “The Food Safety Modernization Act”
S. 510, “The Food Safety Modernization Act”, is another huge power grab by the FDA and the federal government over our food supply. The bill is written so broadly and so vaguely that nobody really knows what it means. The potential for abuse of these vague new powers would be staggering. So will the government abuse these powers? Those who are in favor of the bill say that of course the government will be reasonable, but those who are opposed to the bill point to all of the other abuses that are currently taking place as evidence that we simply cannot trust the feds with vague, undefined powers.
Fortunately, the Tester Amendment has been attached to S. 510 at least for now, but big agriculture is not happy about this, and they will be doing everything they can to get it kicked out of the final version of the law. In any event, if this food safety law does get passed, tens of millions of Americans will be left wondering what they are allowed to grow in their back yards, what seeds they are allowed to save and what can and cannot be sold at farmer’s markets.
In case you think this is paranoid, just consider what is already happening. It has been documented that the feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law. If the feds are willing to stoop so low as to raid Amish farmers, do you think they will have any hesitation when the time comes to raid your home?
#2 Taking Total Control Of Air Travel – The Dehumanizing Full Body Scanners And “Enhanced Pat-Downs”
Totalitarian governments throughout history have always sought to dehumanize their subjects. Sadly, that is exactly what is happening in America today. If you want to get on an airplane in the United States, you will now be forced to either let TSA agents gawk at your naked body or let TSA agents grope your entire body including your genitals.
What these TSA agents are being instructed to do to ordinary Americans is so bizarre that it is hard to believe. It is being reported that in many instances TSA agents are actually reaching down the pants of male travelers and up the skirts of female travelers. One retired special education teacher was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an “enhanced pat-down” by TSA agents. Quite a number of women that have been through these “enhanced pat-downs” have used the phrase “sexual assault” to describe the experience.
So is this what America has become? A place that is so “dangerous” that we all must be treated like prison inmates? Large numbers of Americans are swearing that they will simply not fly anymore, but what happens when these “enhanced pat-downs” start showing up at our schools, our shopping centers and our sporting events someday?
#3 Taking Total Control Of Our Health Care – The Loss Of Our Health Freedom
Once upon a time, Americans had control over their own health care decisions. That is no longer true today. Thanks to major changes in our health care laws, the health care landscape in America has been dramatically changed. Americans are now forced to participate in the officially-sanctioned health care system by purchasing health insurance. But Americans cannot just get any kind of health insurance policy that they want. Our health insurance choices are now tightly constrained by thousands of regulations.
Not only that, but doctors in America no longer have the freedom to treat patients however they see fit. Only “approved” treatments are permissible, and now the federal government is going to be telling doctors which of those “approved” treatments are “cost-effective” enough. As the new health care laws are fully implemented over the next decade, the American people are going to become truly horrified not only about how much their health insurance premiums are going up, but also about how much health freedom they have actually lost.
#4 Taking Control Of Our Money – Multiplying Taxes
Whenever one tax goes down, it seems like several other taxes either go up or get invented. The truth is that Americans are being drained by the federal government, state governments and local governments in dozens upon dozens of different ways. To our various levels of government, our primary function is to serve as a revenue source. Each year it seems like they find more ways to stick it to us. In fact, it looks like 2011 is going to be a banner year for tax increases. If you doubt this, just see my previous article entitled “2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase“.
#5 Taking Control Of Our Businesses – Thousands Of Ridiculous Regulations
Why would anyone in America even attempt to be an entrepreneur today? Most small businesses are literally being strangled by hordes of red tape.
Just consider how things have changed in America. The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies. In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600. Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.
The following is just one example of how bizarre things have gotten in this country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.
Do we really need to spend 14 million more hours telling Americans that if they keep eating hamburgers and fries that they are likely to get fat?
But it is not just the federal government that is the problem. One reader recently described how difficult it was to try to run a business in the state of California….
Had 10 employees, but one almost exclusively to deal with government regs, taxes, reporting etc, Received a $144 penalty for a .33 (yes, cents)error on my quarterly payroll taxes from Cal Franchise Tax Board. I called to ask if that was not a bit repressive, why level penalize someone for what was obvisouly a didminimus error? I was told “we would have penalized you if it was .03!” I said, I did not volunteer to be the income tax collector for the State and Fed government, you should be paying me to do all this work and insane paper pushing. Reply: “That is part of the PRIVILIGE of being a business owner!!!”
#6 Taking Control Of Our Environment – The Green Police
The government is using the “green movement” as an excuse to take an unprecedented amount of control over our lives. From coast to coast, communities have been given government grants to track our trash with RFID microchips. The following are just some of the communities that will now be using microchips to track what we throw away….
*Charlotte, North Carolina
Not only that, but some cities are now starting to fine citizens for not recycling properly.
In Cleveland, Ohio if an RFID tracking chip signals that a recycle bin has not been brought out to the curb within a certain period of time, a “trash supervisor” will actually sort through the trash produced by that home for recyclables.
According to Cleveland Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens, trash bins that contain over 10 percent recyclable material will be subject to a $100 fine.
Does that sound like America to you?
Now we don’t even have the freedom to throw out trash the way we want to.
#7 Taking Away Our Independence – The Exploding Welfare State
You don’t have much freedom if you can’t take care of yourself. But in America today, tens of millions of Americans have literally become completely dependent on the government for survival. Over 42 million Americans are now on food stamps. Approximately one out of every six Americans is enrolled in a federal anti-poverty program.
The number of Americans living in poverty has increased for three consecutive years, and the 43.6 million poor Americans in 2009 was the highest number that the U.S. Census Bureau has ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.
The more Americans that are destitute and totally dependent on the government the easier it will be for the government to control them. Today a rapidly growing percentage of Americans fully expect the government to take care of them. But this is not what our founders intended.
#8 Taking Away Our Patriotism – We Are Even Losing The Freedom To Be Proud Of America
Do you ever think things will get so repressive in America that a group of high school students will be forbidden from singing the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial? Well, that has already happened. Do you think that areas of our nation will ever become so anti-American that they will forbid students from riding to school with an American flag on their bikes? Well, that has already happened.
Fortunately, there was such an uproar over what happened to 13-year-old Cody Alicea that it made national headlines and he ended up being escorted to school by hundreds of other motorcycles and bicycles – most of them displaying American flags as well. The school reversed its policy and now Cody can ride his bike to school every day proudly displaying the American flag.
But what if nobody had decided to stand up?
That school would have gotten away with banning the flag if the American people had allowed them to.
Our liberties and our freedoms are under attack from a thousand different directions and they are being stripped away from us at a blinding pace.
It has gotten to the point where most of us just sit in our homes and enjoy the “freedom” of digesting the “programming” that is constantly being hurled at us through our televisions. Of course the vast majority of that programming is produced by just 6 monolithic corporations that control almost everything that we watch, hear and read.
Power and money have become more highly concentrated in America today than ever before, and yet most Americans don’t even realize it.
Most Americans are so busy just trying to survive from month to month that they don’t even have time to think about the deeper issues. At the end of the night most of them are so exhausted from serving the system that all they can do is collapse on the sofa and turn on some programming.
But the American people desperately need to wake up. Without liberty and freedom our country cannot work. But our freedoms and liberties are being stripped away a little bit more each and every day.
The America that so many of us grew up adoring is dying right in front of our eyes. If you plan on saying something about it, you better do so before it is too late.
Do you remember the days when getting elected to Congress or choosing to work for the government was referred to as “public service”? The idea was that you would be making a sacrifice for the greater good of the country. Well, those days are long gone. Today, getting elected to Congress or working for the federal government is a good way to get rich. Median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009, and yet the personal wealth of members of Congress and the salaries of federal workers (especially at the higher levels) continue to explode. A lot of corrupt politicians and federal fat cats are raking in stunning amounts of cash, and we are the ones paying the bill. There is certainly nothing wrong with making a lot of money, but does it seem right that so many of our “public servants” are getting filthy rich while so many of the rest of us are barely getting by?
Posted below are 12 facts that will blow your mind. Most Americans have no idea just how obscenely wealthy many members of Congress are, and most Americans are totally clueless about how cushy some of these U.S. government jobs are. If there is one place in America where the good times are still rolling (other than Wall Street), it would have to be Washington D.C.
Members of Congress and employees of the government are supposed to work for us. We are the ones who pay their salaries. But today, they are the ones “living the dream” while most of the rest of us scramble just to survive from month to month….
#1 According to an article in the Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s net worth soared from $13.7 million in 2008 to $21.7 million in 2009.
#2 In 2005, 7420 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year. In 2010, a whopping 82,034 federal workers are making $150,000 or more per year. That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.
#3 More than half of the members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires.
#4 The total compensation that the U.S. government workforce is going to take in this year is approximately 447 billion dollars.
#5 Today, all members of Congress earn at least $175,000. This is far, far more than the average American makes.
#6 60 percent of the federal government workforce is represented by labor unions.
#7 The median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.
#8 In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more. When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more. In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.
#9 Insider trading is perfectly legal for members of the U.S. Congress – and they refuse to pass a law that would change that.
#10 According to a recent study conducted by the Heritage Foundation, federal workers earn 30 to 40 percent more money on average than their counterparts in the private sector.
#11 When you factor in such things as retirement and health care benefits, the compensation gap between federal workers and private sector employees gets even larger. Just consider the following quote from the Heritage Foundation study mentioned above….
“Including non-cash benefits adds to this disparity. The average private-sector employer pays $9,882 per employee in annual benefits, while the federal government pays an average of $32,115 per employee.”
#12 The personal wealth of members of the U.S. Congress collectively increased by more than 16 percent from 2008 to 2009.
So can the U.S. government continue to afford to shell out nearly half a trillion dollars to federal employees every single year?
Of course not.
The truth is that the U.S. government is flat broke and yet most of our politicians still seem extremely resistant to consider anything that would even slow down the wild spending that has been going on.
So what do we get for the $447 billion that we are spending on federal workers every single year?
Not a whole lot – unless you consider paperwork, bureaucracy and a gigantic pile of ridiculous regulations to be a good thing.
America needs a fundamental shift in attitude. Instead of expecting a “nanny state” to take care of us, we should desperately try to reshape the federal government into a much smaller entity that will finally get off our backs.
We have been living beyond our means for decades, and we cannot afford to pay for this bloated behemoth of a government for much longer.
Hopefully Americans will wake up and do something about this nonsense before it is too late. Because right now the federal government has become an out of control monster that is gobbling up everything in sight.
Wasn’t the new health care reform law supposed to make health care more affordable for everyone? Well, imagine my surprise when I opened up a letter from my health insurance company recently and found out that my health insurance premiums were going up by nearly 50 percent. I am in perfect health and I have never had a single health insurance claim with this company. Unfortunately, after doing a little research, I discovered that I am far from alone. All over the United States, people are being hit with double-digit percentage increases in their health insurance premiums even as the health insurance predators continue to rake in record profits. At a time when millions of American families are barely making it from month to month, the last thing they need is to be figuratively kicked in the groin by the health insurance companies. But that is exactly what is happening.
Not that health insurance companies ever needed an excuse to raise rates, but in 2010 many of them are blaming changes in health care law for the dramatic rise in premiums.
Of course it is true that there are over a dozen new taxes on the health care industry in the “health care reform” law that Barack Obama and the Democrats rammed down the throats of the American people, and everyone should have realized that those taxes would ultimately be passed on to the consumer.
But what is also true is that the health insurance companies basically wrote large sections of the health care reform law and health insurance company stocks rose when this new law was passed.
So why is this new law so good for health insurance companies?
Well, the new health care law requires all of us to purchase health insurance from them.
We are no longer going to have the choice of opting out of their system.
We are going to be forced to buy health insurance.
And since they are all raising rates, there is no escape from the pillaging.
As the new health care bill was being debated, Obama promised that the average American family would save $2,500 in yearly premiums under the new law.
If any of you still believe that claim I have got a bridge to sell you.
The Congressional Budget office says that yearly health insurance premiums are actually going to increase by about $2,300 each year as a result of the new law, but that estimate is probably far, far too low.
The truth is that rates are already shooting through the roof. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article on Fox News….
Here is the terse reason CareFirst/Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Washington gave its subscribers for raising a monthly premium from $333 to $512 on a middle aged man who is healthy, is not a smoker and is not obese: “Your new rate reflects the overall rise in health care costs and we regret having to pass these additional costs on to you.”
Could you afford to pay $512 a month for health insurance just for yourself?
Unfortunately, the truth is that this is nothing new. Many health insurance companies have been increasing health insurance premiums by double-digit percentages year after year after year even as they continue to reel in record profits.
In particular, health insurance companies seem to love to stick it to small businesses and the self-employed.
According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.
The greed of the health insurance companies seems to know no bounds. For example, the 39% hike that Anthem Blue Cross sent some California customers last year made headlines across the nation. But executives defended the dramatic premium hikes as perfectly justifiable.
The reality is that health insurance is becoming so insanely expensive that millions of Americans can’t even afford it anymore.
But thanks to the new health care law they are being forced to keep shelling out their hard-earned money for it.
It is getting really hard for anyone to deny that the health care system in the United States is deeply, deeply broken. The new health care law is not going to reduce costs. It is only going to help the health insurance companies continue to rake in obscene profits.
But wasn’t the new health care law supposed to prevent the health insurance companies from abusing all of us?
Well, as it turns out, the new health care law does not give the federal government much regulatory power at all to prevent premium increases.
But what about the states?
Can’t they do something?
Well, yes they can, but unfortunately most state legislatures have been bought off by the health insurance industry.
Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.
That is a lot of money, and they wouldn’t be spending that kind of money if they did not expect a return for it.
“The pressure that the industry can bring to bear in state legislatures is unbelievable,” J. Robert Hunter, a former insurance commissioner in the state of Texas recently told the Los Angeles Times. “They pretty much get what they want.”
The cold, hard reality is that health insurance companies are not in business to help people and provide affordable health care. They are in business to make money and they are very good at it.
But there are a few states that have stood up to the health insurance companies. States that have “prior approval” laws have been able to successfully fend off some of the over-the-top rate increases that health insurance companies have been trying to ram down the throats of consumers. For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported on what has been happening in the state of Oregon….
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon was forced to cut back a proposed 26.4% increase in one of its individual plans to 17.3%. Other carriers were ordered to scrap altogether hikes as high as 20%.
Unfortunately, a number of these states that have these “prior approval” laws are now being sued by insurance companies.
That is how these folks work – they will either try to buy off politicians or they will keep filing lawsuits until they get what they want.
Meanwhile, the top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States received nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2009.
Are you upset yet?
You should be.
And you know what?
When it finally comes time to actually use your health insurance, these predators will do anything they can to get out of paying up.
In fact, it has been documented that some of the largest health insurance companies actually pay their employees large bonuses for denying claims. The employees who deny the most claims are the ones that get the largest bonuses.
The health care system in the United States is messed up beyond all recognition, and the new health care law has made things worse than ever. Americans pay more than anyone else in the world for health care, and all that we get in return is a system that is deeply, deeply broken.
If you have a health insurance horror story of your own, please feel free to share it in the comments section below….